A brawl at a Brooklyn mall involving a large group of teens Thursday night forced the mall to temporarily close on one of the busiest days of the holiday season and has prompted mall security to start telling customers it is banning anyone under 18 from entering without a guardian.
Video posted to social media sites show hundreds of teenagers scuffling with police and mall security at Kings Plaza Mall the day after Christmas, some violently. Bystanders also appear to get caught up in the apparent roughhousing as they gather to watch or run from the teens.
Keishawn Gibson, one of the witnesses who shot video of the brawl on his cell phone, said there were multiple fights breaking out at the same time.
"There was another fight in the other section of the mall, the same floor," he said. "There was another fight in the corner. There was just a lot of stuff happening at one time."
"It was just chaos. Everybody was just running from different directions, everyone was getting bumped, people was falling," he added. "It was madness."
The NYPD says officers were called to the mall for a disorderly crowd and once they arrived, dispersed a large group of teens and escorted them out. No arrests were made and no reports of any stolen items or injuries have been filed with police.
A spokeswoman for the mall said only that a "large group of teens caused an incident at Kings Plaza." After mall security and NYPD responded, the mall was able to quickly resume normal operations, she said.
It's not clear how long or how much of the mall was shut down. Some merchants chose to close for the day at their own discretion, the spokeswoman said.
The mall took immediate action to reassure shoppers and security officers were telling customers Friday night it was banning anyone under 18 from entering without an adult. Mall officials didn't return requests for comment after hours on the new rules.
The NYPD also said it will be deploying additional officers to prevent similar incidents in the future.
Gibson, the 17-year-old boy who shot video of the chaos at the mall, is himself now banned as a result of the mall's new policy and he doesn't think it's fair.
"It wasn't everybody's fault, so for you to just ban everybody 17 and under is drastic," said Gibson.
One security expert said he did not think banning teens under 18 would be effective.
"In the short term it's going to be a simple solution to institute, but in the long run that's going to be very difficult and I don't think it's going to be effective," said Sal Lifrieri, president of Protective Countermeasures, a consulting firm.